The Maya

The Maya by Michael D. Coe

Another from the stack of books about the Maya civilization. This book is information rich and will be of great help as I prepare the teaching sessions for the Cruise.


pg. 13 - Maya were pantheistic
pg. 41 - Popol Vuh
pg. 49 - chocolate
pg. 58 - more chocolate, a frothy, hot chocolate drink around 600 BC
pg. 67 - The Hero Twins and the Creation of the World
pg. 171 - "With the Maya ruling elites no longer able to call down the rains from Chahk, they would soon have lost the mandate of heaven; the revolutions hypothesized by Eric Thompson could have been the final act in the tragedy. The entire institution of kingship had lost its relevance to the everyday lives of the Maya people."
pg. 181 - sarcophagus lid celebrating resurrection and apotheosis
pg. 185 - from the Books of Chilam Bahlam - "This is the record of how the one and only god, the 13 gods, the 8000 gods descended, according to the words of the priests, prophets, Chilam Bahlam, Ah Xupan, Napuk Tun, the priest Nahaw Pech, and Ah K'awiil Ch'el. Then was interpreted the command to them, the measured words which were given to them."
pg. 196 - the Sacred Cenote, or Well of Sacrifice - men were thrown alive into the well in times of drought; also sacrificed prized possessions
pg. 202 - Maya gods - Chahk the Rain God, the Maize God, Itzamnaaj the Old Fire God, the Monkey-man Scribal God, Ek' Chuwah merchant god, Jaguar deity, Principal Bird Deity, Snake-Footed Deity
pg. 209 - "slaves comprised both sentenced criminals and vassal war captives; in general, only captive lords were considered fit for sacrifice, or for consumption in cannibalistic rites
pg. 210 - Chilam Bahlam prophecy - "The raised wooden standard shall come! Our lord comes, Itza! Our elder brother comes, oh men of Tantum! Receive your guests, the bearded men, the men of the east, the bearers of the the sign of God, Lord!"
pg. 213 - cacao bean, papaya, avocado, custard apple, sapodilla, breadnut
pg. 214 - Landa praises Yucatan salt "the best"
pg. 215 - other customs - death sentence for adultery, heavy tattooing and scarification, slightly crossed eyes held in great esteem
pg. 216 - societies were self-protection and all members had the obligation to help each other
pg. 219 - notions of the relation between the agricultural cycle and the supernatural world
pg. 221 - Maya life was deeply imbued with religious feeling, and that ritual behavior gave meaning and a sense of security to all strata of Maya society
pg. 221 - previous creation (pre- 3114 BC) was destroyed by a great flood
pg. 225 - patron deities of hunters, fishers, beekeepers, tattoo artist, comedians, lovers, suicides, music, dance, writing, painting
pg. 230 - human sacrifice was perpetrated on prisoners, slaves, bastard or orphaned children
pg. 252 - distilled alcohol as a destructive element introduced by the Spanish
pg. 257 - Spanish required payment of tributes and forced to labor
pg. 260 - Lakandon forests decimated by lumber companies and converted to pasture-land to supply Americans beef

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